DC responds to shortage of AI talent in Canada with new program

Durham College (DC) is tackling the acute shortage of skilled artificial intelligence (AI) professionals in Canada, the most significant barrier to AI implementation today, with a new graduate certificate program.

Artificial Intelligence Analysis, Design and Implementation – the first program of its kind in Canada – will launch in September 2019 and aims to make students employable even before they graduate. By putting emphasis on hands-on learning and training, students will gain real work experience while solving actual business problems through capstone projects, an optional work term and applied research opportunities with the Durham College Hub for Applied Research in Artificial Intelligence for Business Solutions, better known as the AI Hub.

“The Greater Toronto Area is home to one of the highest per-capita concentrations of AI companies in the world, yet our AI ecosystem is suffering because the skilled workforce it demands does not exist,” said Marianne Marando, executive dean of the college’s School of Business, IT & Management. “DC’s new graduate certificate program will help fast-track more AI analysts, designers and system programmers who can hit the ground running.”

The program will focus on AI implementations across multiple sectors through a blend of open and custom solutions. Students will learn how to leverage AI to extract data and guide decision-making as well as service delivery, solving complex day to day problems with state-of-the-art solutions, all while creating efficiency and quality gains for small and medium-sized enterprises up to the largest of corporations.

“There has never been a more critical time for Canadian educational institutions to step up and play a vital a role in solving the crisis of skill shortage in the field of Artificial Intelligence that Canada faces today,” said Danish Arshad, executive director, International Council of E-Commerce Consultants. “Jobs in Canada requiring AI skills have grown by 1,069 per cent since 2013[i]; automation will impact at least 50 per cent of Canadian jobs in the next decade[ii]. In these disruptive times, DC’s AI graduate certificate proactively paves the way to not only build future generations of AI professionals but also prepare markets for the impending automation disruption.”

Whether their goal is a career as an AI specialist or to better understand how AI techniques can enhance their work in sales, marketing or product management, students will learn how to:

  • Identify and understand opportunities where AI can create value in an organization or community.
  • Identify risk and project management concerns unique to AI projects.
  • Structure a project team when resources are scarce.
  • Apply techniques for developing and implementing AI solutions.

Additional emphasis will be put on managing data in a manner that preserves its security and users’ privacy.

“The opportunity to train and test students in a focused AI program is going to attract AI enthusiasts at all stages of their expertise” adds Tushar Singh, CEO and founder, Minute School. “Combined with DC’s strong connections between its academic schools and industrial partners, as well as the faculty’s unique focus on Narrow AI, this program will go a long way in addressing the AI skills gap facing our country.”